Sunday, January 16, 2011

Have you seen these artsy movies?

I'm running low on art teacher cartoons, so I'm taking a week off from posting Sunday comics to regroup. Instead this week I'd like to share some fabulous art-related movies I've seen recently.
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My hubby and I like to get obscure or offbeat movies from Netflix and these four were pretty special. In my opinion (and yes, it's JUST an opinion and not meaning to offend anyone), these movies are way better viewing than some of the garbage that hits the local theaters. YES they are documentaries, but YES all four are also marvelous entertainment and great movies for staying home on a cold winter night. If you haven't seen these movies, you've really missed out. Get on Netflix and order 'em up - I promise you won't be disappointed.
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The first movie, How to Draw a Bunny is about artist (pop artist? performance artist? collage artist? mail artist?...) Ray Johnson, "the best artist you've never heard of". Or maybe YOU have heard of him and I've just been out of the loop. He hung out with Andy Warhol, Christo, and Roy Lichtenstein, and this movie really wowed me, probably my favorite of the four I'm sharing. I guarantee that you won't forget Ray Johnson once you see this movie!

Next we have Exit Through the Gift Shop, about street artists, with a focus on street artist Banksy (sort of) but with a twist. Great movie, and Banksy is totally cool.

Then there's Herb and Dorothy, about a couple of rather unusual art collectors. We loved it.

And finally, Who The #$&% Is Jachson Pollock? , about a "colorful" woman who purchases a painting that ... maybe... is a Jackson Pollock.

Let me know if you love these movies as much as we did!

14 comments:

  1. Thanks for the suggestions. I'm a newbie to Netflix and I just sort of look dumbly at all the selections.....one big blur. jan

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  2. Hmmm...I have to sit around the house recovering from surgery next 2 weeks - this would be a good use of time! Thanks for the suggestions...

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  3. I've never watched any of these, but I do love a good documentary! I'll have to check them out!

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  4. I posted this on my blog...we really enjoyed "The Art of the Steel" about the Barnes Collection. We also enjoyed a documentary on Frank Lloyd Wright.
    I have seen the one on Pollack but none of the others so I will check them out!
    Thanks! Susan

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  5. I'll have to check them out (when I have the time, right!?), but am wondering if any of them are appropriate to show HS students?
    Thanks!
    Amy
    (Oh, and I know this isn't the right post, but just my two sense. As a first year teacher at this school, but not a first year teacher, I would have voted for you to at least have ordered a projector, though I know it is past that time. The new teacher can pick and choose whatever other technology he/she wants but it would have been so helpful if I just had a projector to show resources that I don't have hard copies of. I have nothing at all, not even an overhead projector).

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  6. I've seen the Jackson Pollock one- it's great! I will definitely watch the Ray Johnson one right away- This is so bizarre, I just saw a show on Ray Johnson and the mystery of his suicide. Really crazy! I'm excited to learn more about him! Thanks for your suggestions! :)

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  7. OK -I'll try for some answers here -
    As for HS students seeing the movies: I think the Pollock one is rated PG13, and Exit through the Gift Shop is rated R. How to Draw a Bunny is not rated and I'm not sure about Herb and Dorothy. Anyhow, I'd preview anything before showing it to students, so you know what to expect. The Pollock one's only concern might be strong language. There's also some language in Bunny I think, but also suicide (or maybe the ultimate piece of performance art?). I think high school kids would be fascinated by it and it could spark lots of discussion, as would the Pollock movie. I haven't taught high school in a while, so I'm not so sure about whether the Banksy movie (Gift Shop)would be too "subversive" (tagging, street art) and I don't know if kids would appreciate Herb & Dorothy. But look at them yourself first. Hope this helps!

    Another movie I forgot to include, much more serious, is The Rape of Europa, an absolutely brilliant movie about the attempt to recover missing artwork that was hidden during WWII when the Nazis tried to destroy it all. It's not rated, it's compelling, and I think would be very eye opening to upper level high school students studying this time period. It's a real eye-opener.

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  8. Oh - Therese - where did you see the show on Ray Johnson? I'd love to look it up. I'm smitten with his artwork since seeing the movie.

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  9. I have added all of these to my netflix. Thank you for sharing!
    My husband and I recently watched, and loved, the Independent Lens: Between the Folds. It is a PBS documentary on modern origami. Our favorite so far though has been Rivers and Tides, a film on Andy Goldsworthy. We actually bought this one after seeing it on nexflix.

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  10. Phyl--great round-up. These are my absolute favorite art movies of all time,too. I saw "How to Draw a Bunny"years ago and absolutely loved it. I guess it's time to watch it again!
    There's also a great film about life and work of Andy Warhol, but what's the name of it? Probably not appropriate for the classroom though.

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  11. Hi Phil, I have just created a new blog based on my old one which I could no longer update due to the fact that my gmail account was compromised. It still called OZKIDZARTZ but has a new URL-
    http://ozkidzartz.blogspot.com . I have a link to my old blog and will eventually copy across all the old lesson materials. I have a busy start to the new year travelling to Japan in 3 weeks time- then it will be back into teaching - art of Japan!!! Please add my new site to you favourites -
    Cheers Cheryl H

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  12. For all of you who liked Cheryl's former blog, like me, she doesn't have much at the new site yet, but go there anyhow and sign on as a follower and add her to your blogrolls so she can get her readers back! I'm proud to be her first follower at the new site!

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  13. Another snow day. This is really an ice day. I will be able to use your list I get Netflix. Haven't seen some of these at all and some in while!

    Love Netflix, just saw Only When I Dance (foreign) which was really interesting to me (brought back memories of the classical ballet world I broke away from.) Also love movies about environmental stuff like Dirt, Food Inc., and Blue Vinyl. Keep letting me know about your movie finds. It's hard to find good ones with all these snow days! Hope you guys aren't hit today again with this storm.

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  14. My 16 year old daughter, an art major, recently introduced me to "Exit Through the Gift Shop" and "How To Draw A Bunny" on Netflix. It's funny that my husband and I spent years teaching her about art and music and all of the things that we love and now we are being influenced by the things she loves! I'd also recommend "This American Life" and "The Devil and Daniel Johnston" on Netflix.

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